The Summer 2010 issue of Arab Media & Society is available. While I’m sure all of the articles are worth reading, some caught my attention.
The Coming Contenders by Paul Cochrane.
There are 487 free-to-air (FTA) Arabic satellite TV channels broadcasting on Arabsat, Nilesat and Noorsat, in addition to the dozens of ailing terrestrial channels.The region’s media landscape has become saturated, as indicated by the drop in the number of new channels going on air, from 104 between August 2007 and March 2009 to just thirteen during the financial year to April 2010.
When it comes to pan-Arab satellite news channels, there has been no major entrant into the broadcasting arena since the Saudi-backed Al Arabiya, part of the MBC Group, went on air in 2003 in response to the Qatari-owned heavyweight, Al Jazeera.
There have certainly been attempts to contend with the two big players, yet the numerous Arabic-language news channels launched by governments in recent years to win hearts and minds, such as by Britain (BBC Arabic), Russia (Russiya Al Yaum), Iran (Al Alam), China (CCTV) and the United States (Al Hurra), have not drawn the same audience figures.